"Every year we invite nominations and the committee has to make a unanimous choice for a candidate in a category to be selected to receive the award and this year is no different from previous years in terms of their achievements," said Dr. Thomas Abraham, head of the selection committee. "For the last 23 years, the Kerala Centre has recognized the most outstanding achievers among the Indian American Kerala Community and they are role models for our community," said Kerala Centre's Thambi Thalappillil. This year's celebration also includes an Indian American entrepreneurs meet and technology summit for Kerala.
Recognition for Outstanding Contribution in Engineering: Dr. Navin Manjooran the Global Director (Energy) for Siemens AG and is responsible for the entire Siemens energy portfolio. He also serves as an engineering professor at Virginia Tech. Recognition for Outstanding Contribution in Information Technology: Dr. Sasi K. Pillay, CIO of the University of Wisconsin System comprising 26 campuses where he has started several initiatives such as the Innovation Programme and Business Intelligence, while managing a portfolio of shared services totalling $45million.
Recognition for Outstanding Contribution in Medicine: Dr. Prem Soman, Director of Nuclear Cardiology, and Associate Professor of Medicine, and Clinical and Translation Science at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre.
Recognition for Community Service: Leela Maret has been working as a volunteer in many community organizations for the last three decades. Working as a scientist for last 29 years at New York City's Environmental Protection, Maret is also adjunct lecturer in Bronx Community College. She is the recipient of various Community awards such as NYC Comptroller's Community Service award, and two Pravasi awards. Recognition for Service to the Nation: Captain Jophiel Philips is a Judge Advocate General in the US Air Force. During his recent deployment, he was awarded the Purple Heart, as well as the Bronze Star, for his actions in protecting service members from harm, after an insurgent attack- where eight of his comrades died.